Spinning My Wheels for Alternative Fibres (post-apocalyptic style)

Okay, from zombies to spinning, I know, I leap about, but such is my mind. And I’ve been thinking about spinning. This blog post goes out to Alberta Ross, who also writes apocalyptic fiction (check out the posts at: http://sefutychronicles-albertaross.blogspot.com/) and who inspired this post (thank you). Alberta pointed out (quite correctly – and pardon the very rough paraphrasing) that spinning is a relatively rare skill, and for it to be of great use, likewise requires additional knowledge of how to make use of the spun fiber, as well as a fairly stable settlement. Perhaps it would be best to hoard clothing and blankets instead.

Alberta is right. Spinning does take a lot of resources, knowledge, etc. Hoarded clothing, blankets, fabric, and then animal skins and furs are going to be easier to acquire,and are rough and ready – our ancestors did quite well with them.

But, since I love to spin (and since I’m a cheapskate on the search for how I don’t have to go out and purchase more fiber since I possess neither sheep nor alpaca), I got to thinking about other things you could spin, and why you might want to.

We’ll start first if you’re an expert spinner with your own fiber herd / source, than this probably isn’t necessary for you (you could be spinning yourself a protective cocoon some time before the end of the world, and we envy you.) But for the rest of us who currently don’t want to buy fiber, or will eventually be left with hoarded clothing and blankets wearing thin, and little left to forage from, spinning could still be a viable option.

First, with some kind of fiber, you can spin – even if this means collecting brushed fur from your pets (yes, cat and dog fur can be spun, though I haven’t yet dared to do so). However, this is quite slow (unless you have a herd of cats), so we’ll just move on, shall we. (By the way, you can do an online search for spinning dog fur – there are even people who will do it for you.)

So second, we arrive at what fiber / materials we have. Worn clothing and blankets – items that are no longer keeping you warm, protecting you because they’ve worn too thin – can be the next target for re-spinning with something else to make them useful again. Sweaters and other knit items are pretty obvious – it takes awhile, but you can pull the yarns apart and then re-use them, including re-spinning them with a secondary fiber to make up for whatever may have been lost in wearing them down (maybe two sweaters together, or a sweater with some other kind of fiber, like the sheep that wandered into your yard?) Woven materials can also be spun into bulky yarns by cutting to fabric into a long continuous strip (like peeling an apple) and then spinning before weaving, knitting, etc.The fabric in strips can also be used as is.

Recycle Fabric Into Yarn Tutorial (Just uses strips of the cloth – unfortunately I couldn’t find a second link about spinning it prior to knitting. I learned about it via the print book Get Spun by Symeon North – highly recommended if you want to learn more about spinning.)

If you’ve used up your clothing, there are other things that may still be around.

Newspaper anyone? While it will produce a yarn that would be a bit uncomfortable for clothing, it could be used for upholstery, blankets, etc.(Or maybe armor? Could it fend off zombies?)

Handspun Recycled Newspaper Yarn

And of course, pollution being what it is (and plastic taking so long to break down), it may be handy to remember how that plastic bags too can be spun into a yarn, useful for the same kinds of things as the newspaper yarn.

Making Your Own Recycled Yarn (lots of additional great links on the page to other kinds of recycled yarn.)

Well, those are essentially my discoveries for this week – and I’ll leave you with the reminder that spinning at it’s most basic can be done by rubbing the fiber between the hands or against your legs, and that pretty much everything can be done with a simply-made drop-spindle. Below I’ve included some links in case you’re curious what that is, or how to make it.

Alternative Spinning Tool (a great link if the spinning wheel and drop-spindle don’t work for you … along with lots of DIY, weaving, etc – this person possesses a good deal more knowledge than I!)

Basic Handspinning Techniques (I would highly recommend finding a spinner to help you – it made all the difference to me even if it was an embarrassing “duh” moment. Besides, easier now than after the apocalypse, hmm?)

Thank you again to Alberta Ross for the inspiration and comment. So, anyone planning on taking up spinning after the apocalypse? You know – once the killing, looting, zombies, aliens, etc have passed? 🙂 Thanks for reading and have a great week.

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